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The customer journey relies on touchpoints. As a prospect enters your funnel, it's vital to keep them engaged and interested until they purchase - and then beyond.

The chief way to achieve these touches is through content. This typically means emails full of interesting tidbits, blog posts to guide their decisions, and case study videos to show them why other customers love your products.

But what about webinars? They give companies** the ability to interact with customers and prospects in real time, answer questions, and engage** on a deeper level. And all in a way that's less intimate or intimidating than a face-to-face meeting or phone call.

Many companies only use webinars for a single goal. It could be to generate leads, onboard new customers, or showcase new features.

Instead, businesses should think about incorporating them into all stages of their acquisition and retention funnel, just as they use their blog, ebooks, and other content.

Here's how that works.

Webinars throughout the customer lifecycle

It's a mistake to think of any form of content as being strictly for one stage in the funnel. It's the tone and topic of your content that decides who it should appeal to - not the format.

Webinars are a great example of this. They're commonly used to host panel discussions, with one host and a guest discussing a broad topic. This is top-of-funnel content, and a great way to generate leads.

But this dynamic medium can be applied right throughout the funnel.

Awareness stage: generate entirely new leads

For many marketers, this is goal number one. You need to find new people who've never heard of your brand, and put yourself on their radar.

A webinar is perfect for this. All you need is a good topic and a willing partner, and you're able to reach a whole new audience.

How it works

Lots of companies already host regular webinars on industry topics. If you can find one that's a fit for your business, simply offer to be a guest on theirs.

Otherwise, look for companies who might have information that would interest your customers. Likewise, make sure that you can say something interesting to theirs. Then** partner up and tackle a specific problem or topic that would interest both audiences**.

Together, you write a presentation that'll keep viewers watching. And then you simply promote it to your audience, and they promote it to theirs. This means that you'll soon be speaking to their customers - leads.

The only hard part about this approach is finding an original and interesting topic. You already have a lot of competition.

Potential webinar topics

You can present on anything that your buyer might be interested in, but _not _a product demo. In fact, the topics don't have to directly relate to your products at all. Rather, think of a topic that would fit well on your blog, and present it live to a watching audience. (Then turn it into a blog post as well, just to be efficient).

These might include:

  • Exciting Consumer Trends for the Coming Season
  • New Marketing Strategies That Are About to Become Mainstream
  • Top Tips for Building a Sustainable Business in a Your Industry

You likely won't even discuss your own business in-depth. The goal is simply to put your brand name and face in front of a group of new prospects, and prove that you know what you're talking about.

Consideration stage: introduce leads to your core offerings

How do you reach leads who have now heard of you, but they may not really know what you offer, or why they would want it? Your goal should be to introduce them to your products, but without selling. That'll come soon enough.

You may already be delivering ebooks or selected blog posts for this purpose. This content demonstrates how your products solve a particular issue they might be having.

And this focus on problem solving also suits a webinar perfectly.

How it works

Choose a problem that your company can solve. Something broad enough to appeal to lots of leads, but also directly related to your products.

For example, "How to Choose a great Finance Tool" may appeal to people already looking for software, but "How to Automate These 6 Tedious Finance Processes" is more likely to speak to users who don't even know they need software. And "tedious processes" are a bigger problem than "I don't have software."

You could choose to find a partner for these webinars if you like, but you don't need one. As long as you have an active database to promote them to, you should be able to generate interest.

Then, simply solve the viewer's problem with the help of your products. Easy.

Potential webinar topics

As we've said, it's always best to focus on a problem that the user might have, and to offer a clear solution.

Some examples include:

  • How to Increase Social Media Engagement in Four Steps
  • How to Fix Your Broken Meetings & Keep Employees Interested
  • How to Use These Three Free Tools for Better Email Open Rates

You'll notice that they tend to be "How to" topics. When you're solving a problem for your audience, that tends to be the case.

Decision stage: show people how great your product is

Now that people know who you are and what you do, you can give them a detailed walkthrough of your products and services. The goal is to answer questions, and make sure they're interested.

This is perfect if you have leads who are not ideal buyers - you may prefer a one-to-one demo for higher priority leads. This way, you can** show the product to 20 or so viewers, rather than having to speak to each one-by-one**.

Of course, you can expect registrations and attendance rates to be lower than for the formats above. Here, you're not solving a problem or addressing a broad topic.

You're taking people who are definitely interested in buying, and showing them why that would be a good idea.

How it works

There's no deep secret to this. But you do need to be able to identify decision stage leads and deliver the webinar to them at the right time.

For larger brands with lots of leads, this won't be too tricky. You'll have a few hundred people at this stage, so you can offer your webinar weekly without trouble.

For smaller brands, you may need to be do this more manually. For instance, if your salespeople have a decent number of leads in their pipe, they could personally invite them all to a webinar walkthrough once a month. It's more efficient than doing live one-to-one demos with all of them, and it only requires an email or two to arrange.

Potential webinar topics

Again, this will be fairly simple. Focus on the biggest benefit(s) that your products will bring the buyer:

  • How to Track Company Inventory Easily With [Your Brand]
  • How [Your Brand] Makes Sales Teams 35% More Efficient

It's still a big ask to have them sit through a demo, so try to show them what they'll get out of it.

Onboarding: help them get started

New users often need a little help. Consider hosting a weekly or bi-weekly webinar to show them how to use the product to its full effect.

The more comfortable a client is with your products, the more likely they'll stick around and recommend them to others. Churn is a company killer, and live webinars can really help you avoid this.

Plus, they're a good opportunity for upselling. You'll have the chance to show the full product to viewers, including those who don't have the _Enterprise version. _Help them get up to speed with the plan or product they have, and at the same time show them how exciting the rest of the range can be.

[Note: You can also use on-demand webinars for onboarding if you want to be more efficient. But live webinars are always going to be more personal, so they're great if you have the time.]

How it works

Set up a regular webinar for new customers, and make sure they get the invitation. Your presenter can be the same, and the topics can even be similar - so it's not a big drain on resources.

It's always nice to keep it fresh and change things up, though. That's the benefit of doing it live, rather than sending around a pre-recorded version.

Potential webinar topics

These will really depend on your products, but the goal should be to get the viewer using all the essentials as easily as possible, and show them what they might be missing out on:

  • How to Use [Your Brand] Like a Pro
  • Insider Secrets: See How the [Your Brand] Team Uses [Your Brand]

Try to keep it fun and appealing, otherwise nobody's going to bother showing up.

Yearly or quarterly check-ins: keep your users up to date

This final one is for customers who're set up and using your products, and you want to keep it that way. You likely schedule catch-up calls between them and your customer support team, but this isn't always practical.

You could have too many clients, too few support staff, or you might be too busy at that time of year. A relatively easy and efficient way to achieve the same goals is to host webinars to show everyone what's new, and to answer questions.

Again, this is an opportunity to upsell. But it's also a good chance to** show the product vision for the next quarter or more**. Customers may be thinking about switching, and just knowing what's on the horizon can help to keep them around.

You'll also learn more about the common problems your customers face, and you'll be able to solve it for lots of them at once. Which takes even more pressure of your support team, and helps you improve your products in the long run.

How it works

Simply choose a time of the week that suits the majority of your customers, and invite them to sign up. Make the process easy, and encourage them to join with a catchy title or interesting angle.

Seasonality is also important here. If you have regular high-churn times of year, aim to hold your webinars ahead of these, and show your customers why they should stick around.

Potential webinar topics

If you can, make these interesting. "Quarterly update" isn't the most inspiring title.

Instead, you could try:

  • The Three New Additions to [Your Brand] You'll Love
  • The Five Most Common Problems [Your Brand] Users Have, & How to Fix Them
  • A Live Q&A With the Head of Product at [Your Brand]: Ask Your Questions

Change them up and test to find the topics that'll entice your customers to attend.

Conclusion

As we've seen, live webinars are a great content format throughout the customer journey. The key is to tailor each to the buyer's needs - whether they've new to your brand or have been a customer for years.

Just keep them fresh, find an appealing topic, and focus on interacting with customers and prospects in real time. That's something that only live webinars can offer.


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